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Report: Big Ten Could Suspend Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh for Penn State Game

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 23: Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh catches passes before the college men’s football game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Michigan Wolverines on September 23, 2023 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI. (Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire)

Michigan could be playing its biggest game of the season to this point without head coach Jim Harbaugh.

According to a report by ESPN’s Heather Dinich, the Big Ten has “considered a WIDE range of punishments,” which could mean an indefinite  suspension, lofty fine or public reprimand, sources told her and ESPN colleague Adam Rittenberg.

If Harbaugh is suspended— which, per Dinich, is expected to be confirmed one way or the other this afternoon and could start this weekend for the Penn State game— it will be the second suspension he’s had this season. Dinich reported that

Harbaugh didn’t coach in any of Michigan’s first three games— all easy wins— due to a self-imposed suspension for a separate NCAA investigation.

This investigation, of course, is related to Michigan’s alleged illegal sign-stealing. The man thought to be the ringleader was staffer Connor Stalions. Stalions resigned last week.

A Harbaugh suspension would come at quite an inconvenient time for Michigan. Two of the team’s last three games— at Penn State Saturday and against Ohio State Nov. 25 in Ann Arbor— are against programs ranked in the top 10, with Ohio State being No. 1 in the College Football Playoff poll.

Michigan’s currently ranked No. 3 and undefeated.

Even with all the drama, Michigan controls its destiny to win the Big Ten and get to the College Football Playoff for a third straight season. Penn State has a chance to disrupt that Saturday.

This would be the first game Michigan’s against Penn State without Jim Harbaugh on the sideline since 2014. That was also the first game Penn State boss James Franklin coached against Michigan. Penn State lost that game and has a 3-6 overall mark against Michigan under Franklin. It will look to improve that Saturday.

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